Batting coach Mark Ramprakash played at and missed a straight one Thursday when he seemed to suggest the England lineup at the World Cup isn't "up to speed with 50-over cricket and the modern way of batting."
Ramprakash had been asked an unthreatening question at a news conference on the eve of England's Pool A match against New Zealand about the success of his efforts to encourage the English batsmen to play with freedom and express themselves.
He said he "happy with the direction" but referred to "the mentality for England to get up to speed with 50-over cricket and the modern way of batting in this format."
He was forced to play some staunch defense when asked whether he was suggesting England players are out of step with the game.
"Well, what I mean is that I set the bar very high," Rampraksash explained. "So you judge yourself against the top, top teams.
"I think it's fair to say, and I think the stats show, that England right now came into the tournament as an underdog."
Ramprakash said the England squad lacked the experience of some of the leading contenders in the tournament and some of "our players are finding their way."
"The exciting thing is that they've shown they can learn quickly," he said.
World Cup matches and exposure to top teams is aiding the progression, he said, with Moeen Ali developing with every innings and Gary Ballance working on converting his domestic limited-overs form into the one-day international arena.
"We're hoping that through good practice and preparation, through sharing of information as a batting group, and hopefully enjoying their cricket and having this mentality of going out and having that aggressive intent, that they'll start to click," Ramprakash said. "We've seen signs of that."
Ramprakash said England's approach was to try and ensure its top batsmen faced the largest percentage of the 50-over innings "because they're the guys that will do the damage."
He said players were starting to learn when to adopt an aggressive policy in the first 10 overs and when, if conditions favored bowlers, it was better to absorb pressure and counter-punch.
"We got criticized greatly in 2014 for not being proactive enough in the first 10 overs," Ramprakash said. "So now it's a bit ironic to hear have we have calmed down.
"If I was to err on one side or not, it would be that we want the players to go out and play with an aggressive mindset and that freedom and I think the best sides do that."
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Feb 19, 2015 10:36:29 IST